How Safe is Grocery, Deli, Convenience Service Station Food?

Perhaps you read the heartbreaking story of a father who ate nacho cheese from a gas station and died from botulism. 

Clostridium botulinum is the technical name for the bacteria that releases a toxin causing botulism. It is an uncommon, almost rare form of food poisoning. But is often universally deadly indeed.

Most of us have done it. We have grabbed a quick hot dog from a convenience store or gas station. We’ve picked up a quick salad from a grocery store deli. Perhaps we’ve grabbed some fruit from the grocery store and eaten it on the way home before washing it. All of these scenarios carry a risk of food borne illness.
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How Clean Are Those Stadiums?

We had a first-time experience at the Denver Broncos stadium within the last month. It was fun. Getting there early, we had our first brat and lathered it with condiments at the condiment table. No problem. At half-time we ordered another brat but had to wait while it was thawed out and then cooked. OK. But the condiment table looked like a bomb had exploded. I passed on the condiments and ate the brat and bread dry.

I have to ask, have you ever wondered about food safety at the stadium?


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Why Bother Using a Food Thermometer When Cooking or Holding Food?

In the most recent data Annual Report from the CDC, published August 2017, the most common causes of food borne illness identified were related to improper cooking with:

  • “poor temperature control”
  • “insufficient time or temperature while cooking or heating”
  • “improper holding temperatures”
  • “eating contaminated raw, undercooked or under processed foods.

I conclude that to reduce the chances of getting your guests sick, be cautious about temperatures and use a food thermometer for cooking and holding. It really is quite simple.

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How Do Food Handlers Rate Their Own Food Safety Practices?

Risky food preparation practices were commonly reported by food service workers and reported in a study conducted by Environmental Health Specialists at the State and Federal level.

Safety food practise

When asked key hygiene questions, food workers said that at work:

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Where Are We Most Likely to Get Food Borne Illness and Why?

In the 2015 (most recent data) Annual Report from the CDC, published August 2017, there were 902 food borne illness outbreaks in the USA with Norovirus being the most confirmed, single cause. Sixty (60%) percent were traced to restaurants. Sit-down dining establishments accounted for nearly half of the restaurant sources.

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Identifying Restaurants Dedicated to Food Safety is Easier Thanks to Dr. Stueven’s Dining Grades

For Immediate Release – Monday, July 10, 2017 – Now diners can make more informed, safe restaurant choices by looking for Dr. Stueven’s Dining Grades A+ restaurant window decals. The Dining Grades decal is a sign of a restaurant’s commitment to food safety and is only awarded to those establishments with years of dedication to food safety. The decal is an additional guide beyond the letter grades provided on the Dining Grades website

The idea that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is the foundation on which Dining Grades has been built. Dining Grades reviews hard data from public health inspection scores and converts it to a simple letter grade system. Dining Grades has millions of government food safety ratings from the USA, Canada, and the U.K. compiled within its database, making it the premier international restaurant food safety consumer and industry guide.

“I’m excited to officially launch the website and provide top performers with decals they can use to make their commitment to food safety more visible. It’s important that the public have access to food safety information they can understand to help prevent food borne illness,” stated Dr. Stueven, the site’s founder.

Dining Grades has officially begun its launch in the major U.S. cities of Miami, New York City, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Washington D.C. and will be launching across the United States in the near future. For more information, go to

All media inquiries can be directed to:

Alyson Hodson
Communications and PR

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Dining Grades is changing the way people choose where to dine and how restaurants meet their commitment to food safety with its new, empirically sound, data-driven method for standardizing government food safety grades from different states and localities.

The Dining Grades website provides information on which restaurants in the United States and beyond have demonstrated their commitment to serving food prepared safely and in a clean environment. The restaurant industry and millions of customers will be better off for it.

Food Safety for Leftovers

You haven’t finished your meal after dining out, so you ask for a leftover container, you put it in the car, run some errands and then into the refrigerator hours later. It may seem like a good idea to eat those leftovers but without some guidelines there is the risk of getting sick yourself and giving others food borne illness.

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When Good Foods Become Bad: Raw Foods

Raw Ground Meats
When we first moved to Wisconsin we were offered “Steak Tartare” at a holiday gathering. “Steak Tartare”, “Cannibal” or “Tiger Meat Sandwiches” are usually raw ground beef topped with condiments and onions over bread or crackers. What we didn’t know was that this can be a risky food. It is so risky that the Wisconsin Health Department recently strongly advised against the practice.

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When Good Foods Are Bad: Sweets

It’s Valentine’s Day and Americans are obsessed with giving sweets to their sweeties.

In fact, the United States is the world’s largest consumer of sweets. We need starch, which is complex sugar, and simple sugars to live. Sugar (glucose) is brain food but, unfortunately, sweets are in far too many foods. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda has about 10 teaspoons of free sugars. 1 tablespoon of ketchup is about one third free sugars and now sweets and/or sugars account for upwards of 30% of our dietary calorie intake.

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